Sep 30, 2009

Taking The USB Port For Granted.

So what would you be doing today if you had a fever, a wicked cough, and ached all over? Yeah, I thought so.

What on earth is wrong with me? I got up at 4:45am and drove the kids to Seminary. Then I went and walked on the elliptical at Gail's house then I picked up the baby I babysit and arrived home at 7:30am. The last three children who were at home getting ready for school all begged to stay home claiming they did not feel good either. I made them go to school. Can you say mean, insensitive spreading germs kind of mom?

Then I started up the computer and wonder of wonders Mr. Mouse decided to take the day off. I could not get him to move a single inch. I called my husband who is out of town somewhere...... I told him what was wrong and he had the nerve to mention that I might have to wait until he got home to see what was wrong with it. I asked him if he knew I could not live without the computer and he knew :) I asked him to tell me what my options were:

#1 was borrow a mouse from the neighbors and see if our mouse was broken. I did this immediately while I was pushing "sick" children out the door. (No luck....their mouse did not work in my computer either.)

#2. involved lots of words like tab, and blah blah blah, F8 and I did not understand any of it.

So I just took matters in my own hands and started unplugging things, and moving things around, and coughing and I finally discovered that all of my USB ports except one went to the Bahamas today. So I called my husband to tell him what I discovered and I asked him why I could not just alternate the keyboard and the mouse between the one working USB port. He did not seem very supportive of that idea I am pretty sure he laughed at me but I think he forgot that I have a miserable fever and a wicked cough and that, HELLO, I am a SIXTH generation Mormon whose ancestors walked to Utah and those types do not just take trouble laying down :) So here I am unplugging and plugging back in while I am blogging. Because I just know today will be the day that you will all comment on my blog making it worth it :)

We all stop at different points in our lives when we have something happen that makes us think about how much we take for granted. Yes, I confess that my life is so cushy that I take USB ports for granted. They are a part of my life that I assume will always be there doing their, "USB job."

Madeline had a life altering situation just like my USB port situation this week at BYU. The Creamery(the grocery store where she shops) had no breadcrumbs. They were not just out they don't even stock them. She called me wondering what to do. I mentioned to my daughter, who has a scholarship to attend BYU, that bread crumbs were made from bread and that she could dry some bread out and make her own. She did it but declared on my Facebook page that it was,"a pain in the butt." Do you hear those 6 generations of Mormons rolling over in their graves?

And what about when Amanda flung herself into the car this morning declaring with tears rolling down her face that there was no food in the house. She really means that there is no food in the house that has wrappers on see, the Baird children think life is over and there is nothing to eat if there is banana bread that I made, cantaloupe, grapes and wheat bread.

So it is clear that I need to work a little harder to make life difficult for the Baird Family. I will make a good plan for how to accomplish that when I am done watching all my shows that are on the DVR waiting for me while eating the food in wrappers that I hid from them :)

Sep 29, 2009


What mother of teenagers has not contemplated on the word embarrassed? I wonder why we get embarrassed? Is it necessary to experience embarrassment? Are you a better person because you have experienced it? Is there really truly anyone who has never been embarrassed? I tried to ask my kids about why they get embarrassed but strangely they were too embarrassed to answer :)

Something I read said that if you have never been embarrassed it means you never take any chances. Interesting idea.

I have been asking around. And a lot of people say that they think embarrassment comes more to people who are insecure.....oh drat...that's me.

I am really very talented at suppressing embarrassing moments. It takes a little bit of work to completely shut the door on those moments they are always trying to stick their toe or arm in the way and keep the door from closing completely. But I usually can do well enough at suppressing them that when I am at a party and someone gets the brilliant idea to require everyone to tell about their most embarrassing moments I conveniently can't think of one.

I would be happy to share my embarrassing moments if they were as simple as going into the wrong restroom or falling down somewhere. But unfortunately my embarrassing moments are way more involved than that. I usually say something that I wish with all my might I could take back. And we all know how easy it is to take things back once you say them :) In my defense I just really want to tell you everything. I hate to wonder so I just assume that you hate to wonder also. Yeah,'s just messy. I try to remember to chant in my head...."less words is better, less words is better" But it is sadly like telling the waves not to break on the shore.

Think of all the potential there is out there for us to be embarrassed.....our kids, our pets, our spouse, ourselves, even our house and our car that don't say a word can embarrass us...... so many options so little time.

My friends do not embarrass me. Even when they open a box of something from their shopping cart and start eating it before they pay for it :) My kids actually rarely embarrass me. Miriam's red Converse high tops embarrass me when she wears them with her capris.....but I never tell her. Joe's need to holler random things out the car window embarrasses me.....oh, and his occasional temper tantrums. Amanda has a small need to tell everything exactly like it is, a great quality but at times embarrassing. I love my house so that does not embarrass me. My big white van is a tad embarrassing.

Last night Miriam embarrassed Joe like nobody's business. We were in Wal-Mart and you could tell that Joe was extremely embarrassed to be with us. It was interesting that he even chose to come in the store with us and not just wait in the car. My policy with embarrassed teenagers is that I just ignore them but I don't think Miriam's teenagers will be so fortunate. Because in the middle of the health and beauty aisle she randomly decided to VERY loudly announce, "Hey, everyone this is my little brother isn't he cute?" A little old lady walking by declared that he was. And Joe took off into the depths of Wal Mart. Miriam bought him a Gatorade because she had no idea it would embarrass him so much. She offered him her "Gatorade of peace" which he adamantly declined. But then when he got in the car he decided he did want the Gatorade and as soon as he drank out of it Miriam declared, "ah ha you drank out of the Gatorade of Peace" so you have to forgive me. Just to save me from having to tell you the embarrassing details of how they then chose to interact with each other let's just say that that was not how it worked in Joe's mind.

I hate how I still cringe when I remember embarrassing moments. Remembering one or two of the more painful ones make it so I have no choice but to immediately close my eyes no matter where I am hoping that that can make it so the embarrassing moment never happened. You do know that if you close your eyes it means it never happened? :)

I found this quote while I was reading about why we get embarrassed,"If we live in the truth we have nothing to be embarrassed or fearful about." I found that the more I thought about it the more I realized this statement was painfully true. If Joe was okay with the truth about his short mom and his teenage sister we wouldn't embarrass him. What do you think?

Sep 28, 2009

Worry Dolls And Getting What You Want.

Hi, my name is Jennifer and I am here today to confess that it is really hard for me to let my kids under the age of 8 pick out their own books at the library.

Wait, take a breath, don't start lecturing me, notice I did not say I don't let them I just said, "it is really hard for me to let them." And because it is so hard for me, occasionally, I will go to the library without them and pick out all their books. I am pretty sure that what is hard for me when they go to the library is to watch them just grab books randomly off the shelves and stuff them in their bags without a single thought. I know it won't surprise you that I have a system when I go by myself. You see, I keep track in my head and start in a different place in the children's section each time I go so that I end up rotating around the room. And then I look at every book in that section. I try to give each book a chance and not to judge the book by it's cover so I open it and flip through to see if anything catches my eye. I do not know how to explain what I am looking for but I usually know when I see it. My most favorite thing is when I get the books home and am reading the books to Tatiana and Natalie and discover that the book is really for adults and that I learn something. Well let me tell you that last week when I went to the library by myself I did very well. Last night when I was reading to them two out of the four books we had chosen to read really made me think and you know I won't rest until I tell you about them.

The first one is by Anthony Browne and I have always loved his books. The illustrations are so clear. And he always tells a good story. I thought we had read all of his books so I was surprised when I saw a title mixed in with his other books that I did not recognize, Silly Billy. I assumed he had written a new one. But this one was actually written in 2006 and it is about a little boy named Billy who is a worrier. Billy worries about a lot of things; shoes, clouds, giant birds etc. His parents try to reassure him that nothing will ever hurt him and that everything is in his imagination but their words never help him. One time he is spending the night at his grandma's and as all true worriers Billy can't even sleep at his Grandma's. He decides to tell his grandma and she tells him about worry dolls, you see if you have a worry doll you tell it your worry and then you put it under your pillow and then you can sleep. Now apparently I am the only person in the world who did not know about worry dolls. But I have to tell you about them anyway. The tradition of worry/trouble dolls started in Guatemala and, "to this day children in Guatemala trust their worry dolls to take away their worries while they sleep." Now just so the end of the book does not take you by surprise I have to tell you that Billy is an extreme worrier and he eventually has to make worry dolls for his worry dolls :) But nevertheless I loved this story. I immediately wanted to make some worry dolls. But I am not the kind of girl who has a craft store, "40% off coupon" in my wallet at all times. I only go to the craft store maybe once a year. So I was not sure how I was going to make a worry doll. I mentioned it to Gail, who I walk with in the mornings and not only did she tell me how to make them she also told me where to buy them already made 20 minutes up the road in Northampton and then to top everything off she gave me some that she had bought and just had on hand. They are so tiny and cute and my girls experienced untold joy when I showed them to them. Now we just have to worry about how to share them :)

The other book I knew was going to be all about life just by the title, Sometimes You Get What You Want by Meredith Gray. It is basically the story of my life :) My favorite page declares, "Sometimes your friends want to do what you're doing and sometimes they want to do something else"...SIGH...definitely my life. My second favorite page says, "Sometimes you get to sit next to the person you want and sometimes you don't." The sooner you learn that life is this way probably the less chance you have of owning worry dolls :)

I know you don't expect an over thinker to love things to be simple. But I really do with all my heart wish life was simple. Which is why I love how kids books describe life in a simple matter of fact way.

So I am off to make my list of things to tell my worry doll and after that I am going to think about how sometimes I get what I want and sometimes I don't. It will definitely be a busy day :)

Sep 25, 2009

Middle School Drama....Definitely The Best Kind.

I am addicted. Everyday when Joe gets home from school he and I get in the car to go deliver the newspapers and while we drive along for 20 minutes I get every single piece of middle school drama that a 40 year old woman could ever want. I have never met half of these kids but I know ALL about them.

The latest thing is fighting. The kids finally have figured out that fighting at school on school property is really not a good idea and results in unpleasant consequences. So the Plan B is that you "schedule" your fight for after school. Sometimes there will be 4 or more fights scheduled for after school on the little side roads all around the school. The whole school day is spent hyping up these fights. The "busy body" kids run around and make sure the fights get announced and that the kids involved in the fight stay mad enough at each other to actually fight. The "walkers" (which Joe is not) have to sometimes....gasp...choose which fight they will watch after school because there are so many. According to Joe's friends, who also love to talk to me, "girl fights" are a definite must see and take precedence over any other fight. So after school they all rush to the spot where they will be viewing their fight and then they all film it with their phones so they can show the "bus riders" what they missed the next day at school.

It has opened a lot of discussion between Joe and I which is why I am a firm believer in public school. If I was home schooling Joe I would assume that there would never be an opportunity to have these discussions :) So thank you, parents of middle school age kids in Westfield, Massachusetts, for giving me so many opportunities to talk with my child about drugs, smoking, being disrespectful, bad language and fighting. Some of you may wonder why I let Joe go to this school. Why don't I quickly try to find a sheltered happy place for him where bad things never happen? Well I trust Joe and I guess I strangely have confidence in my parenting. There are bad things happening everywhere we go no matter what phase of life we are in and yes, I would love to protect my children from all of it but that is not reality. There is no Utopia. They need to know what choices they will make when they are finally on their own. And believe me Massachusetts public schools have been a "goldmine" of discussion opportunities. :)

So I basically just listen as Joe shares all his information and the funny thing is by the end of his description of his day including who fought who and who smoked what he has pretty much made sense of it himself and announces his thoughts about the stupidity of it all and that is that. I barely have to say anything.

I confess I got in one fight when I was in 7th grade. A girl named Dolly at a middle school in Vista, California. I can still see Dolly's face. And I can most definitely still hear her voice pushing me, and pushing me, and pushing me, until me, Jennifer Baird, voted Most Friendliest in her Senior Class just punched her. I was immediately shocked at what I had done. I had never experienced that feeling before. I was not proud of my choice at all. (But for the record I did win.) I did get detention. And I went right home and told my mom. And to her credit she did not make a big deal about it. I think she already knew I would never do it again and that I was "beating myself up" (nice choice of words huh? ) enough over it. I need to remember to ask her if she remembers that fight.

Joe and I have been talking about why kids fight. I am not really sure why they do. It really cracks me up that they can actually wait to fight until after school but they can't just choose not to fight at all. What makes someone think that that is the way to solve problems? It is very interesting to me.

You should have seen Joe's face when he got in the car yesterday and I said, in my best gossip voice, "Okay, so tell me what happened in the fight between Brian and John."

Sep 24, 2009

The Angle of Repose.

I have been thinking about blogging about what an angle of repose is for awhile. And then the other day I was reading on Scribbit's blog about this great book by Wallace Stegner called Crossing To Safety and it motivated me to write my blog about it. You see Wallace Stegner also wrote an amazing book called Angle Of Repose. It is one of my favorite books. From the opening sentence I fell in love with the way Wallace writes. But this blog is really not about the book it is about an angle of repose. Do you know what that is?

Well let me see if I can explain it.

To do this we are going to have to pretend you are here.....wait I have to get out of my sweats if you are here. So hang on. Okay, now let's sit on my very "sinky" couches in my living room. They are navy, red and yellow plaid. We have had them for way too long but they keep me humble and they are comfortable. I have heard rumor that these very couches are in some apartments at BYU Idaho. That brings me untold joy to know that :) Any way I like to sit with my legs tucked under me on these couches. And where you are sitting when you talk is actually very important. If you are talking about something that you love that you can talk about forever you can sit somewhere comfortable because conversation about this topic comes oh so easy. If it was a conversation about math we would have to sit at the table so I could concentrate. I do not have to concentrate when I talk about angle of repose. But you do have to be here because it is easiest to show someone what it is.

So imagine we have a pile of bulk granular sand or salt....let's use sand since I happen to have some in the garage. So stay there and I will go get it. Did you look under my couch to see if there was dust while I was gone? I thought you would. Now we are going to dump this container out on a horizontal surface. Did that word horizontal throw you off? It is just a fancy word for the table. In our case it will be the coffee table from Ikea that is between my couches. Now did you notice when we poured out the sand it made a conical pile? Yes, I use the word conical frequently don't you? Okay now here comes the best part...the internal angle between the surface of the sand and the surface of our table is....dum, dum dah dum.....the angle of repose. It's the angle where a pile forms with the ground.... AKA "horizontal surface." Some materials have a low angle of repose and thus make a flatter piles than materials with a high angle of repose.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well in Wallace's book he has a man telling the story of his grandma and grandpa. They are long since dead but he is writing about their life and he talks about how angle of repose happens in life. He wonders if his grandma ever settled into her angle of repose or did she always long for something else? There comes a point where things just settle and we have to accept them....actually just embrace there should be day when you no longer long for something. Please tell me I am not the only person who longs for things? Will I some day be content? Imagine your life slowly pouring into a pile on a horizontal surface when will it find it's angle of repose? I confess I am always fighting against my angle of repose. Are you too? Then we should chat on my couch more often :)

Well speaking of couch, I have to get off the couch now and face my Thursday list. You can stay. But remember I will want to know every single thing about you because I am so weird.

Sep 23, 2009

Politics..All About Filling Spots.

It has happened my friends. And you are here to witness it. I feel so sure of my political opinion that I am sharing my political opinion on my blog. My blog that is just a plain old humble homemaking goddess blog. But I have been stewing about something for a few days. And because I am posting my opinion you of course have the right to post yours....even though I am right and you are wrong :) You can even point the error of my logic if you must. But I am pretty sure I am right about this one. So get comfy and let me read you a story.

Once upon a time the evil state of Massachusetts used to have a Senator......Senator Ted....he was our Senator for a very, very long time. Senator Ted was a Democrat. A very liberal Democrat. He believed in a interventionist government and emphasized social and economic justice although I think he usually tried to get a long with everyone. In August 2009 Senator Ted died. When he died it left a spot open for a Senator in Massachusetts.

That spot is very important to the President of the United States, President Obama. I don't know if you have heard that President Obama is trying to pass a health care plan? He really needed Senator Ted's support and vote for his health care plan. So now he is chatting a lot with his new BFF the Governor of Massachusetts.....Governor Deval Patrick. (See above picture, don't they look chatty? :)

You see a long time ago in 2004 there was a law in Massachusetts allowing a Governor to nominate someone to fill an empty Senator spot. When there was this law there was a Governor of Massachusetts named Mitt Romney who had a Senator named John Kerry who wanted to run for President and was going to possibly leave an empty Senator spot thus allowing Governor Mitt to fill it with a person of his choosing....a interim appointment is the technical term. Well the Democrats did not like that idea one bit so they changed the law immediately so that just in case it ever happened Mitt would not be able to have any power to fill that spot. Are you still with me? Isn't this your favorite story ever? If you need a drink I will wait.

Now, I don't want to upset you but the Democrats are trying to quickly pass a bill to change that law back so that Governor Deval can appoint someone who would be sure to support Obama's plan. I sense that they are a little desperate. You see Obama really needs votes for his health care plan. I understand how they feel. I hate that desperate, helpless feeling. I often need votes for my ideas at my house and I hate it when I don't get them.

No matter how I try I can not see anything but hypocrisy in this story. Oh wait, I guess there is some unfairness in there too. Hypocrisy and unfairness really drive me crazy. I know they are everywhere. But I fear I would be happy in a world where everyone got what they deserved :)

I think the hardest part of the story is that a 40 year old, 4 foot 10 inches tall, girl in Westfield Massachusetts really has no power. How do I get power? I need to get me some. Just think if I had power......

I have to tell you after I wrote my, "necessary to my peace of mind" political blog I did some reading and discovered that the law I was talking about passed yesterday and Governor Patrick is now on his way to choosing a new Senator. Now I am sure a Republican Governor somewhere in this fair land has probably done the very same thing that the Democrat Governor of Massachusetts has done but that would be way too fair if I told you about it.

Sep 22, 2009


Today is a cloudy day. I can hear the darn acorns dropping off the trees onto the driveway where I will run over them with my car. Smashed acorns make an enormous mess on the driveway but I really do like the sound of my tires going over the acorns and smashing them. And yes, I think about that sound as I am sweeping them off of the driveway.

Everyday on the paper route Joe collects acorns. And on the drive home he tries to hit signs with them. Yes, I let him throw acorns out the window. To hear them hit the signs is a very rewarding sound. Sometimes I wish he could drive the car so I could try. I think I might have a hidden talent for acorn throwing. In my mind I imagine myself hitting every single sign.....never ever missing. Let me tell you if it really ever happens that I am actually in the car with someone who would be okay with me throwing acorns at signs and I do hit them all I am going to have to figure out h0w to make it an Olympic sport and of course give it a clever name. What would an acorn throwers uniform look like? :) Did I really just confess all of that out loud? Yep, it is a slow blogging day.

Speaking of imagining yourself doing something. Do you ever do that?

Ever since I was little I have imagined myself singing on stage. I imagine my great dance moves. I imagine my adoring fans but that is about as far as that ever goes. I used to close my eyes and put my hands over my ears so I could hear myself really well and sing at the top of my lungs when I was a kid. I even went so far as to declare to my parents that I did not need to learn how to work because I would be able to afford servants when I was famous :) Do I need to mention that it never happened? :) But it has always intrigued me that I could imagine every single detail of me singing a song and yet honestly it really will never ever happen.

Skiing, I imagine myself skiing too. Not as much or as clearly as I imagine the, "being famous and singing thing" but enough that I am mentioning it. The sun is shining. The snow is perfect. And I am smoothly skiing down an amazing mountain. Bending my knees here and bending my knees there..... I am not perfect at it but I can do it. I wonder if you can clearly see yourself doing something that means you are going to be a natural when you get to try it? Oh and don't forget that in my imagination my ski outfit all matches :)

Shooting a bow and arrow is another one. I have a definite feeling that I might be good at this. And yes, I can imagine myself hitting target after target. I can feel the bow in my hand and see the arrow flying. Joe and Amanda have bows and arrows and I once shot a milk carton full of water and it was very rewarding. I just never have time to practice though. Too busy blogging :)

Sometimes when I am watching the kids soccer games and things are not moving along the way I can clearly see from the sideline that they should be moving I imagine myself running out onto the field and kicking that ball like nobody's business and winning the game. "Yep, that's Joe's mom, too bad Joe can't play soccer like she can."

So you never imagine yourself doing something? Great. Just great.

Sep 21, 2009

Changing......For The Better? :)

Do you have a list of things you just simply never do? Things that make you feel so good about yourself because you NEVER do them? I have been noticing lately that I am doing things I never, in a million years, thought I would do. Just in the last year I have become painfully aware that most of the things that I used to never do when I was a young mom I now do. Things that I used to care about SO deeply I frankly no longer care about. Things that will probably scar the last three children forever and result in me having to pay for their therapy. Let me enlighten you.

White bread.
You must admit it when you see someone with THAT bread with the red, blue and yellow circles on the wrapper what do you think? Yeah, I thought so. You wonder how they could buy Wonder don't you? Well I never thought I would purchase it but I do. I dabbled around in other white bread before I finally took the plunge and now not only do I purchase it but I purchase it at Costco in.....gasp...bulk. $2.99 for two loaves. My children are the envy of every child in the cafeteria at school. Yes, I do buy wheat bread too. And I occasionally even make homemade bread but somehow white bread just snuck in to the shopping cart and into the Baird home.

Writing in magazines.
I used to be a magazine Nazi....yes, there is such a thing. When the kids magazines would come in the mail I would never let them do the fun stuff pages. What if someday I needed to copy those pages for an activity and they were all colored on? Well the Internet fixed that and this last Sunday in stake conference when I watched Tatiana do a word search in the actual magazine, with an actual pen, on the actual page I was pleased to discover I had no anxious feelings about her writing in the magazine. Sick and twisted? Maybe :)

Every room being spotless when company came over.
Whew, let me tell you I really used to care about this one. What if they need to see your basement storage room? (Yes, I have had that happen.) I used to kill myself making sure everything was clean. I remember one time a group of ladies were at my house for a party and as they were walking through my laundry room and into the garage a lady opened my dryer on her way by and saw clothes in it and said out loud "oh whew, I thought you were perfect." And now I am happy to confess that my kitchen, dining room, and one bathroom are very clean for my company. And in case you think I am perfect I have several messy rooms for your viewing pleasure.

Cold Cereal

Oh I have always bought it but I tried to be righteous and only buy Kix or Raisin Bran or Life. Sugar cold cereal used to be our tradition for Christmas...everyone would get a box under the Christmas Tree. Well now I regularly buy Trix, Lucky Charms....and even Cocoa Puffs. I have no idea how it happened. All I know is that if cereal is under $2.oi a box these days I buy it.

Playing Outside On Sunday

I used to not let the Baird kids outside on Sunday. We used to talk about how it needs to be a day that is different day from other days. I remember once they were desperate to go outside and jump on the trampoline and I reminded them of our policy that we needed Sunday to be a different day from the other days of the week...and one of my smart aleck kids said that they could jump on the trampoline naked and that would make it different. Oh Dear !! So ever so slowly things changed and my kids are allowed outside on Sunday. The funny thing is once it was allowed they didn't want to do it anymore. If they do go outside they get a blanket or a chair and read. And we never have to worry about neighbor kids wanting to play because where we live there is no neighbors.

It definitely happens slowly. Little by little things change for lots of reasons. One thing about it I could never be accused of not being open to change :)

Sep 17, 2009

New Cell Phone's.

Just before we get to far along I must tell you I used to live in a fantasy world and in that fantasy world the Baird children had one cell phone to be used between them all. They shared it lovingly. And there were unicorns.

Yeah, so not reality. The aforementioned kid cell phone immediately became Madeline's cell phone. And sharing and lovingly are not the first two words that came to my mind when I remember her hostile reign as"the kid cell phone keeper." Before I knew what had happened we had 4 kids with cell phones. I vaguely remember there being good reasons for it all to happen. I definitely remember fighting a good fight for it not to happen. But clearly I do not have much power because it happened.

Since it happened I have slowly watched my world change:

We discuss the word minutes and how many are too much..... way too often.
My children call me from the basement when I am in the kitchen. (no, I do not answer)

My only consolation has been that the Baird children have had very old, out of style phones. I loved that they had to complain about how big their phones were. And how they could not do anything amazing with their phones. Why did I love this..... I don't know.

Anyhow, Madeline recently went to college and after being at BYU for about 2 weeks we started receiving panicked phone calls from our very, "addicted to her cell phone" teenager. Her screen on her phone had gone black and she could only call people who were on speed dial and no texting could happen. I felt so gleeful. I was so happy that Madeline was having a forced cell phone detox. I had only dreamed that this moment could happen. It just so happened that her phone died while Brian was climbing a mountain in Maine and his name is the only one on our Verizon account thus making it impossible for me to deal with the cell phone crisis. So Madeline kept Facebooking me about her woe. And e-mailing me about her woe. And luckily I was speed dial number one so that she could call me about her woe. Finally Brian came down off the mountain and we began to deal with it.

While dealing with it we discovered that everyone in the family was eligible for a phone upgrade. There were nine phone options to choose from that were free. I confess I did need a new cell phone. My 3, 6, and 9 were becoming very lazy. Thus making it frustrating to make calls involving 3, 6 or 9. But I refused to choose. I really did not care which cell phone I got. All I wanted was the simplest cell phone imaginable. My husband has a very complicated phone that is always doing what it is not supposed to be doing and making him mad. I do not want that for myself. So I just told the kids to choose one for me.

Madeline, Miriam and Amanda all got to choose one phone from the 9 free ones for themselves. Miriam chose a complicated one that is shiny red that some person somewhere in the depths of Samsung headquarters named Intensity.

Amanda could not decide and finally chose just a basic plain old phone that some less creative Samsung employee named LX VG550.

Madeline's phone got sent to straight to BYU to her. So it is like having a grandchild that I have not seen.

I also got a plain phone just like I requested. No sprinkles. Just plain. But it does have a name and it is named Smooth. And can I just tell you the Samsung people got that name oh so right. I love the feel of this phone. I never imagined I would get to say something like that. But can I just tell you in all seriousness you really should feel my new phone. I need to figure out how to tell it to not play music for my wake up alarm. But I actually really like my new phone. I have wall paper that looks like the opening credits of a James Bond movie...minus the female know just the swirly, yet strangely organized shapes. All my keys work which is a welcome treat.And we have discussed at length whether my phone is black or dark blue. And did I mention it is super smooth. I wish I could describe how it feels to you. It is not shiny or slippery it has a strange but soothing texture. Okay, I know I am weird. But when you feel it you will no doubt agree.

I do not know why I resisted and continue to resist technology. I tell you I am so weird that I actually dial all my numbers. I do have them in my contacts but I hate to not know the number and have to rely on the contact list to always be there so I rarely use it.

I rebel against snazzy ring tones and so my ring tone is called classic bell. And it is just that an old fashioned ring.

I wonder why everyone likes to be so accessible? If I was a teenager I would want it like when I was a kid and my parents had no way of getting a hold of me when I was smooching at the end of the driveway, or smooching at the high school, or smooching......just kidding :) But I am saying that because of cell phones my kids have no excuse for not being in touch with me....if only they knew what they were missing :)

Sep 16, 2009

Can You Really Spend Your Own Money Any Way You Want?

Have I told you the air soft gun story? I haven't? Well then if you want to feel good about your parenting skills then I would highly recommend getting comfortable and enjoying this post.

Before we moved to Massachusetts the Baird family did not own a single air soft gun. We really did not even know to much about them. So halfway through Joe's first semester of school here he finally made some friends. The best kind of friends, the kind who shoot air soft guns, the kind who live on acres and acres of wooded land, the kind who spend all weekend running through woods shooting the heck out of each other, the VERY best kind of friends. He started talking about air soft guns a lot. All I knew about air soft guns were that the word air meant.....well, you know.... air..... and the word soft.....sounded well, harmless. And guns....well I am not opposed to them I actually enjoy shooting them and my husband will gladly tell you I am actually pretty good at it. So there we were. Joe had his own money. A lot of his own money that he earned doing his paper route so there really was not much discussion after that. I really want them to have their own money for this reason. So they can make their own choices and understand consequences of spending...oh and don't forget the consequences of shooting your sisters....all the grownups I know who never learned about that consequence are in therapy :)

I can not remember how he acquired his first air soft gun. I think it was ordered through the Internet but I could be wrong because they are also available at Dick's Sporting Goods and Sports Authority. The point is that I am using the word "first" thus indicating that there has been more than one air soft gun purchased by Joe.

At this point I am forced to admit to you that I think he has ended up spending at least $400.00 on air soft guns.


That my friends is the same question I have been asking.....the answer is bewildering but simple... they keep breaking.


I do not know.

I have shot them with Joe and they are very heavy, seemingly, well made guns. He claims his dad broke one....that is a whole another story...with all sorts of claims and intrigue....we'll save it for another day, far from this day :) Anyway, that only covers one of the guns he has owned in the last year what about the others? Well I tell you the other stories are a little vague.

Every time this happens and he buys a new one I mention to him that at some point this really is a draining hobby. How much of a 13 year old boy's own money should his mom let him spend on air soft guns? How does the aforementioned mom find out where to buy a air soft gun that won't ever break? I have been anxiously waiting for the class at Home and Family Personal Enrichment on the subject but I fear it may never come. But it would be very enriching for me. I definitely need to be educated on it. I need some statistics. I need a group of, "air softing mom's" to chat with. I need Joe to take up knitting :)

The minute the gun he is currently using breaks I am doomed....oh, wait it is could I forget? I swear Joe talks about the broken air soft gun and his need for a new one as much as Obama talks about his health care plan...which is A LOT.

So guess where Joe and I are headed today after soccer practice? Sports Authority.......and yes, I give you permission to judge me :)

Sep 15, 2009

How to Get It All Done.

Have you ever wondered when you read someone's blog what they went through to get the blog published? I know some people have a certain day of the week where they write a whole bunch of blogs and then they just set them up to publish at certain times throughout the week. I know people who keep lists of things to blog. I know people who blog with kids crying on their leg. When I was blogging yesterday I was thinking how you might be thinking that I just sit down and write a blog and publish it. I WISH.

When I walk in the house in the morning after doing the Seminary run it is usually 7:30am in the morning. Joe is usually watching out the window for the school bus and while I walk through the house to the computer I talk to him. Making sure he is ready for the day. I use my big toe to press the circle button on the black rectangle box "thingy" that is sitting on the floor next to the computer. (I am sure it has an important sounding name but you know what I mean don't you?)Then while the opening screen is pulling up I wander through the house putting things where they belong and starting the girls lunches. I am always carrying things to and fro. So next time I walk into the room with the computer I click on the account that says Jennifer. Then I do some more puttering while the next page pulls up. Next time I walk back through the room with the computer in it I am finally to the page where I can tell the computer to dial up. And, you guessed it while it is doing that I get the little girls up for school and start their breakfast. Once they are eating I walk back into the computer room and first thing I check is my e-mail. That will cover Facebook and e-mail in one stop. All my Facebook comments and messages come through my e-mail...don't knock it.....I really like it....I know it is wrong in every way because my kids are always saying, "Mom I know how to turn that off so it won't come to your e-mail." They act like it is a burden but it isn't to me. Besides then I know if I need to reply to any messages on Facebook and I can start thinking about them. While I am going through the e-mails I supervise outfits for the day, I find socks, I do hair, I sign papers. I multi task....yep, I big time multi task. By the time they get on the bus at 8:30 I have usually finished all my e-mails....except on Thursday when I have to forward Zach's missionary e-mail and write to him. Okay, did you notice I have not even mentioned the word blog yet? It's true.

After e-mail I go to Facebook. I type in my status for the day. Unless I really can not think of one. If I have to spend more than 2 minutes thinking of one I just skip it until later. I then click on "status updates only" because I really am interested that you are in the Mafia and that you have a farm and that you are going to die when you are 65 by lightening strike but I really do not have time :) So I scan through status updates and comment if necessary and then I go to my profile page and click on my blog. So while I am blogging my Facebook page stays up...just because.....

Okay, so for example after I posted that last sentence I went in the kitchen and unloaded the top of the dishwasher, chased the cat out of my closet, got a glass of water with ice, and put the margarine in the fridge (yes, I am the only one in the family who knows how to do this difficult task.) And went to make sure the baby I babysit is still sleeping.

So now we are on my actual blog. I check to see if I have any comments on my last two or three posts and I rarely do since you are all chickens. Then I check to see how many people read my blog the day before so that my self esteem is not based on my comments. Right now about 45 of you read my blog everyday. A little less on weekends and sometimes a little more if I cuss in a blog :) JK Then sometimes, I confess, I read back over my last few blogs just to enjoy the sheer brilliance of my mind .....haha. Then I click on "new post" and I stare at the blank square. Today I started a different blog than you are actually getting right now but I was not in the mood for the other one so I left it unfinished and may go back to it later.

I often wish I could see your faces when you read my blog. See what the room where your computer is looks like so I could just visualize where you are. See what you are wearing. You are dressed aren't you? :) Just a couple of weeks ago I was feeling very sad about not being able to see a dear friend's face and hear a dear friend's voice. Admit it, it does make conversation a little bit easier. Like when I asked if you are dressed or not if I saw your face I could know whether you were offended by that or not and when you saw me smile and heard me laugh you would know I was teasing you :)

So it is now 10:01 am on the east coast and I am done. I have spell checked. I have re-read the blog 3 times and added a few things and I am ready to publish. Then I will turn off the computer and go do yard work. And later in the afternoon I guess you should know I do check to see if anyone has commented and make sure the blog still sounds the way it sounded in the morning when I clicked "publish" you know, just so that I do not need to prepare to go on the witness protection program, or issue a statement or call a news conference.

So now you know that I am an ADD blogger. I write. I go start a load of laundry. I write. I go make a phone call. I write. I go move the sprinkler. I write. I work on cub scout stuff. I write. I make my bed. I write. I brush my teeth...

Sep 14, 2009

It's That Time Again.

The Baird Families relationship with soccer started when Zach was in 1st grade in Lawrence, Kansas. Lawrence had the greatest soccer program ever. I, of course, did not know it at the time. Why does that happen? We never realize what we have until it's gone? Look, I am already off topic...I better save the, "hindsight is 20/20" blog for another day, something to look forward too :)

Anyhow, we lived in Kansas for nine years and the oldest 4 Baird children all played soccer every one of those 9 years. It was a crazy time. Spending all day Saturday at the soccer field, eating breakfast for dinner all week because of all those soccer practices, searching for soccer socks, fights about shin guards. Oh and don't forget all the talks with sobbing children who would want to give up half way through the season. I even had a few children who would only enjoy the season after I shoved them out the door. It was a really fun time....honest, it was :) The games were rarely on Sunday. And we actually went to all the games together...... everything was just about perfect. But remember I did not even know it :)

Then right before Zach was going to start high school at Lawrence High we had to move to Indiana. They did not have as great of a community soccer program as Lawrence did but the older kids all tried out for high school and middle school teams and made them so we still had our soccer fix. When soccer got to high school level it became much more intense. No more of that, "lets hold hands and love each other no matter who makes a mistake stuff." It was hard for me to sit through a game because I would get SO emotionally involved. But I still loved nothing better than sitting on the soccer fields in the fall watching the games. Because of Brian's traveling schedule and all the other kids busy lives we did not go to the games all together as a family anymore. There were even times when no one was able to go and watch the games. I would have been horrified if you would have told me years before that that would happen. But it just did and there was nothing we could do about it. Luckily we still managed to live in a city where everyone respected Sunday so we rarely had to deal with soccer being on Sunday's.

When we moved from Indiana in the middle of the semester and arrived in Massachusetts in December the one thing foremost in our minds when we got here was soccer. Hello, we have a BOX of cleats, a BOX of shin guards, and a BOX of soccer socks. We even have a soccer ball on the back of the 15 passenger van. Could anyone doubt our seriousness? :)

Madeline and Miriam both played on the varsity team in Indiana. Joe was going to be on the middle school team. But we soon discovered that all our soccer dreams were not going to come true in Massachusetts. Soccer in Massachusetts is not the same as soccer in the middle of America. It is always on Sunday, it is always political, it involves being able to say a cuss word in every sentence and you definitely have to have a certain last name. We were warned but did not believe. And it broke my heart watching my kids have to learn some very hard but also very necessary life lessons. I was saying things I never imagined I would say. Things like, "soccer isn't everything." And that old,"life is not fair" lecture was very overused during this time.

The people here do not know it could be any different. You think the way you have always done something is the only way to do it. That is actually New England's motto :) One good thing about moving around a lot is that I have been able to see all the different ways to do things and have been able to do comparing.

So why on earth is all this on my mind? Well, Joe started soccer last week. He had his first game on Saturday. As I stood at the soccer field in the misty rain with Miriam I had so many thoughts going through my mind. The first one was that I had come so far from my past, "happy soccer world" that I did not even have chairs in the back of the car anymore so I was standing. The second was that we had to go all the way to the basement to find the cleats, shinguard's and socks. Third was that I did not even care that the coach wasn't really coaching...I know crazy huh? Me, "Mrs. Have High Expectations Of Everyone" did not even care that the coach was horrid. I just felt sorry for him.

And just to show how grown up I have become I did not even acknowledge Joe when he decided for some random 13 year old reason that he did not want to go and play his game. I just gave him a look and he got in the car.

Sep 12, 2009

I Prefer To Use My Words But Here Are Some Pictures.

Natalie when we were picking blueberries in July. No her bucket was not very full :) You see in all that water on the ground there was something infinitely better than picking blueberries...frogs :)
What? A snow picture? I know I really am pushing it. Am I the only person in the world who loves snow?
This was taken at the Hill Cumorah Pageant this summer in July. I had been waiting a very long time to get to the Hill Cumorah Pageant. We have been to all the church history sites there but never to the actual pageant. In this picture are 5 of my kids and 2 of their friends and all 6 of my sister Rachel's kids. In the background is the actual Hill Cumorah and all the stages set up for the pageant.
This is a picture taken last year during Fall in New England. I have been known to use this picture to con people into coming to visit me in October...did it work?
Ahh to be little and cute again :) Natalie with her two friends at Cape Cod.
Amanda loves to take pictures and I thought this was a great picture of her taking followed along through all that didn't you?
This is the first pumpkin I have ever grown so I thought it was very important to document it. It is perfect in every way :) And at this moment is sitting in my garden getting perfectly orange :)
Take a good look at this picture. I have no idea what keeps eating this poor Coreopsis. I have half of a mind to sit outside all night and cause harm to whatever it is. I mean ever single leaf...gone.

So, don't worry on Monday it will be back to lots of glorious words but for today I was thinking about how I rarely post pictures so I thought you would enjoy them.

Sep 11, 2009

Food and a Movie.

When I first saw the ad's for the movie Julie &Julia I remember having a mild interest. It wasn't one of those movies that you declare loudly to your neighbor after the preview, "I have got to see that one." I actually did not really understand at first what the movie was about. The reviews never seemed to catch my attention and there were enough of them that were negative that I never thought I HAD to see it. And then one day I was in the dentist office reading Time magazine and came across a three page article on the movie. And with the receptionist's voice gossiping on and on and on in the background I found myself reading about a movie that all of a sudden I HAD to see. The person who wrote that article had a lot of power. Their words made me want to go and see the movie right away. So the very next day I went to see Julie & Julia it was worth waiting through the 4 hours of commercials and 2 hours of previews for the delicious 2 hours and three minutes of the Julie & Julia world. I was amazed at all the emotions I felt as I watched this movie. I laughed. I cried. I felt longing. I felt hungry. I even wondered...I am sure that is no surprise to you :) I really connected with all the characters and walked away from the movie incredibly inspired to cook something other than Eggo's.

I spent this morning reading about the movie and was interested to discover that not just me but most people did not expect to like the movie and ended up adoring it. It is different from most movies you see because the main story is food. And it is beautiful food. It inspired me so.(oh drat I am using the word inspire a lot huh?) It made me think about how little we know anymore about cooking and the fine art of it. It made me immediately go and purchase more butter from Costco. It made me wonder how to make my own fruit snacks :) It made my spaghetti and tacos seem so boring. And it made me pretty confident in my conviction that my pans are very bad and that I must find a richer husband who can get me some Le Crueset cookware. The older I get the more I demand of my eating experiences ( in my house or in a restaurant) but I am frustrated that I am too lazy and poor to meet that demand. It requires a lot of work and a lot of time to cook well. And a lot of money. I know, I stand in the store and gaze longingly at the nice cheeses, good cuts of meat and amazing breads just like the rest of you do.

So the movie is the true story of Julia Child and the true story of a girl named Julie Powell. How do they connect? Well Julie Powell in 2002 decided for many reasons to start a blog and write about her experiences cooking all the recipes in Julia Child's cookbook. She takes a whole year and cooks 500 or so recipes and blogs about her experiences. So the movie goes back and forth between Julia Child's life in France and how she got her book published and between Julie Powell's life in New York and her blogging and cooking.

I read a lot of New York Times articles about the movie, I love to know as much as I can about things, and as I was clicking on links I found myself on Julie Powell's actual blog. Imagine having 500 comments on a blog entry? I found at a certain point that I needed to stop gathering information. Why do we sometimes not want anything to mess with our happy thoughts? Sometimes mixing the real with the unreal is sobering. Julie is just a person like all of us. She has opinions and faults. I wanted her to be the person in the movie and that is not realistic in any way.

I read articles about how much work goes into making the food look just right on screen and having enough food on hand for the possibility of lots of takes of a scene and on top of everything else having to take into consideration the actors personal eating habits. I read articles from the NY Times about this movie and marriage that had quotes like, "But most often film unions are dreary and painful, a chore that must be slogged through en route to the real story line........But happy, relaxed, rolling-along-together marriage? “It’s like spotting a unicorn,” And I read articles about blogging since that is a big part of the movie. I learned that blogger's can tend to be self centered...who me...I could only aspire to be self centered :)

Now don't you lose any sleep over thinking that I spent way too much time reading articles today. It was all fun and I planned for it. Remember I am "plan girl."

So all that said, "What are you doing tonight at 6:30?" I think I am going to go see Julie & Julia again :)

Sep 10, 2009

Glorious Thursday.

I love Thursday. Thursday is my free day. My, "I can do whatever I want day." Thursday fills up fast with all my little hearts desires. Thursday has been blessed to come after Wednesday which is a very difficult day...if you saw Wednesday on paper you would wonder how Wednesday ever happens at my house. Because Wednesday is so tough it has helped make Thursday my favorite. I know you are wondering about Friday but Friday is not my favorite because Friday is when the kids start filling up MY weekend with their plans.

So here is what I have accomplished so far on this glorious day:

Alarm rang at 4:45 am.

got right up

pulled on exercise clothes

made Joe's lunch ....because if I don't make it Amanda has nothing to complain about in the morning.

took the phone up to Joe's room so that I could call him to wake him up.

left at 5:10 to drive kids to Seminary

listened to my new Colbie Caillat CD the whole way.

while kids were in Seminary I exercised in the Primary room until 6:30 when the kids called me from the car in the parking lot wondering where I was...oops, I was all alone in the dark and locked up church exercising, duh :)

called Joe to make sure he got up...because it is important to give Amanda something to complain about on the 25 minute ride to school.

got home and made it just in time to have Joe follow me around the house asking 73 times if he could purchase another air soft gun today after school

got the 7 and 9 year old up for school

convinced the 9 year old that it was time to take the band-aids on her arm off....very bad idea....ruined I am serious it really ruined her life.

Got the last two on the bus at 8:35 after convincing the 9 year old that no one would laugh at her nose...that was very red from all the crying about the band-aid incident.

So here it is 8:48 in the morning and this is what is left on my list:


four yards of topsoil being delivered at fall project is to do whatever it takes to make the front lawn happy.

mail box to Zach.....Zach's birthday is in October and it will take at least 6 weeks for a box to get to him in Estonia. I am having a hard time figuring out what to send..... I have a flat rate box that will cost me $53.50 to send and can only weigh 20 lbs. He can not get peanut butter in Estonia and would really like some of that. I also have some pudding, peanut m&m's and a dry cookie mix. I think I will throw in a SD card for his camera but past that the child is very difficult to buy for since he hates for anyone to spend money. Yes, I asked him and all he said he wanted was family history...ugh. Any ideas on what to put in the box?

Mail box to Madeline...Madeline left her straightener, her favorite shorts, a gift card someone gave her to the BYU bookstore and her last paycheck from her summer job. I also threw in her favorite strawberry bars from Trader Joe's.

Thoroughly clean the basement play room. I am doing a room a day organizing, moving furniture and such. Today it is the basement play room.

Vacuum out both cars...someone is borrowing our big white van for the weekend and the remains of summer beach trips are in that van....sand, fruit snack wrappers, shells, ponytail holders and water bottles. Frankly the van is so big I never go all the way to that back seat....who knows what could be back there :)

Drive kids on paper routes. Don't feel bad it is actually really fun one on one time with Miriam and Joe...they strangely look forward to it

Read 4 chapters in Cold Sassy Tree. This is the book club book for the month and I am the reviewer so i am reading a few chapters a day.

mop floors.......I know, is it strange that this makes me happy and that I save it for my special Thursday?

Figure out what to spend an extra $90.00 on. Believe me this is SO tough. I mean when you have extra money that does not have to be for anything you need the spending of that money to be perfect in every way. Don't tell anyone but I may just save it for awhile

Go to the library. Tatiana is in the middle of this great series by ED Baker and she NEEDS the third book or she might die.

Call about pears. I actually just did this while I was writing and the guy will have pears for me next Monday....$20.00 a bushel. Pears are the Baird families favorite so I have two bushels of pears to look forward to meeting next week.

Figure out how to convince Joe that he does not need to spend his money on another air soft gun.

Also, convince Miriam that the shoe basket by the front door is not hers personally. yeah, can you believe that snuck onto the glorious Thursday list?

Well I better go embrace my Thursday so why don't you see if you can muster up enough confidence to comment.....I think I may need some comments to be waiting for me tonight :) And you will be able to cross off, "building Jennifer's self esteem" on your Thursday list :)

Sep 8, 2009

I Don't Care.

"There once was a boy named Pierre who only would say I don't care read his story my friend for you'll find at the end that a suitable moral lies there."

Have you ever read the book called Pierre by Maurice Sendak? It is, "A Cautionary Tale in Five chapters and a prologue." I grew up with this book and I remember as a child being shocked and also incredibly fascinated by Pierre's ability to say, "I don't care" to everything. How could he do that? I mean his parents want to take him to town and he does not care? I would most definitely care about that. His mother tells him that he is her only joy and he still replies, "I don't care?" Then to top it all off he does not even care when that hungry lion declares he is going to eat him? I have the book memorized and even at the age of 40 it still shocks me that someone could not care about things the way Pierre did. But as in ALL of life this story has a happy ending and Pierre decides after being in that lion's disgusting belly for just a short while that maybe caring is important. I wonder if Pierre is happier now that he cares? I wonder how hard it would be to get a lion to swallow some Baird children who have a few things they do not particularly care about?

The reason I was thinking about caring is that the other day, for the first time in my life, something happened to me and in a split second, without even knowing what hit me I realized that I really did not care about what had just happened. It was such a liberating feeling that I started to think that maybe I need to start NOT caring more often. The only glitch is that I think you can not make yourself not care about something without, "lying like a big dog." I have a small fear that what you care about may possibly be deeply part of you...... a result of all your years and experiences something you can not just dismiss with a Jedi mind trick.

Which means I am stuck caring about if you all like me for the rest of my life.

JOY :) Do not tell me that you do not care if people do not like you

I am also going to have to learn to embrace the fact that I care if you are supremely happy.
(that is good news for you and you should be able to tolerate me trying to make you happy, right?)

I also seem to care a lot about disappointing you...
wow, all the things I care about, that occasionally make my life tough, actually work out to be great deals for you huh? :) I never thought about it that way. :)

I also will have to break the news to my family that I will always care about being on time.

And I hope the hubby can deal with me caring about the edges of the yard being weed whacked immediately after mowing.

Guess what I don't care about?

the cat
folding socks
where I sleep ( I am comfortable anywhere)
brussel sprouts

See, there are thing I don't care about...I am well on my way to getting eaten by a lion just like Pierre :)

Sep 7, 2009

Logistics, Logistics, Logistics......

Logistics and I have a love/hate thing going on. Logistics means the coordination, the engineering, the planning, the organization, or even better yet the strategy. I care deeply about logistics. Details, planning, engineering, coordination and organization all are words that make me SO happy. I do adore them. But just as any relationship can be sometimes logistics are hard to figure out. No matter how I move them around on paper, no matter how I mull them over while laying in my bed with my eyes closed I can not for the life of me figure out how some situations are logistically going to work out. That is a tough situation for little old Jennifer to be in. And lucky you, I am actually in one of those aforementioned situations right now...yes, at this very moment...... I can not figure out the logistics of getting my children to and from Seminary which starts tomorrow.

Now admitting this to you is a small miracle. I mean I am the girl who (with two fabulous helpers) figured out the logistics of providing authentic pioneer food for 120 people for the 3 day pioneer trek in Indiana on a minuscule budget. I also am the girl who has figured out the logistics of many years of homemaking, young women's and primary activities. I also confess to being the girl who figured out the logistics of enormous school carnivals in Kansas. And last but definitely not least I am the girl who figured out the logistics of teaching 7 people to brush their own teeth, wash their own hair and use the bathroom.

Just in case you did not know Seminary is the name of our churches early morning religious education program for our youth who are in 9th to 12th grade. They should attend Seminary during the school year for all 4 years of high school. I really believe in Seminary and would do anything to get my kids there. If we lived where there were a lot of Mormons this would be, "easy peasy japaneasy" my kids would go to Seminary during one of their class periods at school...end of discussion on logistics. But there are not a lot of Mormons in Massachusetts so my kids get the privilege of attending early morning Seminary.

Since I really do not have anyone to talk about logistics with I figured you might be game to talk with me about Mr.Logistics....behind his back, of course, because he is very sensitive.

Here are the facts:
Seminary starts at 5:40am in Springfield Massachusetts.
I live in Westfield, Massachusetts which is 25 minutes from Springfield.
I have to leave by 5:10 am in the morning to be in Springfield by 5:40 am.
I have to stay in Springfield until 6:30 am when Seminary ends.
I have to get the girls to the high school back in Westfield as quick as I can.
I have to meet the parents of the baby I babysit at 7:15 am.
I have to be home by 7:30 am so that Joe can get on the bus so that the little girls are not left alone.
While I am gone Joe, Tatiana and Natalie are home alone getting themselves ready for school.

Are you still with me? Please don't go I really need you.

Now the unknown in this tale is traffic. It could definitely complicate things. But there is nothing I can do about that so I am going to do something I RARELY do and let that part go. Yes, without taking any medication whatsoever I am letting something go :) Please do not try this at home :)

Another part of the logistics is an extra but nevertheless I am really trying to figure out how to work it in and that is exercise. In a perfect world (which I would dearly love to live in) I would exercise in the neighborhood around my church while the kids were in class. But since my church building requires the services of a security guard and gets broken into frequently I would imagine running in the dark in the morning would not be a good idea. I have thought about driving to another neighborhood which is 10 minutes away and a little better in the safety department but that would not leave me much know 50 minutes take away 20 minutes of driving equals 30 minutes. We all love story problems don't we?

So right now I am mulling over the idea of exercising with a exercise DVD and a portable DVD player in one of the rooms in the church. Most people I talk to highly recommend using the 50 minute of Seminary time to sleep in my car or read but neither of those appeal to me.

The biggest thing on my mind is that I will be getting my kids at home ready for school via phone. But hey, maybe if it works I could market the idea and make millions :) I mean maybe there is something to not seeing what they are wearing when they leave the house :)

So wish me luck as I head off tomorrow to discover if the world is flat or round. Columbus and I could have worked well together...he would have been brave enough to head off without a plan and I would have planned everything I possibly could have had control over :)

And many thanks for listening. Maybe we could set up a regular listening time everyday?

Sep 6, 2009

Purchasing An Apron

Yes, I am blogging about buying an apron and yes, I am really planning on you enjoying it. I mean really, who does not like posts about other people spending money? And besides who else could write about an apron purchase but me? :)

When I got married I received a gift of an apron from a young girl I worked with at Sensuous Sandwich in Provo. This young girl was in high school and the apron she gave me had the words, "My cooking love it or heave." It has been the only apron I have owned for almost 21 years. And just to show you how totally unaware I am it was not until about 6 months ago that I became painfully aware that it was indeed a bad apron in every way I mean is it nice to tell your guests to heave ? :) I started dreaming of owning a new apron. I debated about sewing one but I really was not in the mood. I debated about asking Aunt Sarah to make me one, but poor Aunt Sarah gets the privilege of being used by her favorite sister Jennifer a lot so I decided to give her a break. So as I do with everything I want I just kept thinking about it so that when the right moment came I would not miss it.

That means anytime I have gone shopping lately I have noticed aprons...what they look like and how much they are. The all important, "Gathering Information Phase."

Yesterday, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, it was 70 degrees and not a child that I had given birth to was in sight. I was with my friend Gail. We were at Evergreen Walk which is an amazing outdoor mall. (yes, outdoor mall in Massachusetts) They have a lot of upscale shops that I love to browse in but I rarely purchase in. It really was an incredibly beautiful day. I was wearing my very, very favorite brown corduroy dress from Ann Taylor and my brown tights and a 3/4 sleeve pink cardigan sweater, the only dark rain cloud on the day may have been the fact that I was driving the only 15 passenger van for miles around. Mostly BMW's, Volvo's and the like frequent the Evergreen Walk.

So near the end of our window shopping we ended up in Anthropologie. Anthropologie is not my style in any way. But I really enjoy looking in Anthropologie. While we were looking I saw a rack with some amazing aprons. All sorts of colors. Fabulous vintage fabrics. When I look at something the first thing I always do is look at the price. That determines if I am allowed to love the item or not. The innocent enough looking sign by these aprons said $28.00 to $32.00.....gasp.... I immediately had no love for them at all. I promptly left to look at something else. But Gail is a smart woman and should have a very important job somewhere. She asked me what I would be spending that money on otherwise? Which caused me to stop and think....hmmm what would I spend it on otherwise? What else does $32.00 buy? Half of a tank of gas. 16 gallons of milk at $2.00 a gallon. You get the idea. I really wanted a new apron and if you consider that I kept this one for almost 21 years the $32.000 would be well worth it...right? So I chose an apron and quickly purchased it while trying to act like I imagine people who buy $32.00 aprons act....nonchalant.

For the first time in my life I do not have buyers remorse. I wore my apron today while I was fixing dinner for my company. I was able to dance in it to my music I was listening to while I cooked. I received compliments on my apron from guests and so the circle of life is complete. And yes, I know you want a picture so I figure if 32 of you send me a dollar I will be happy to post that picture :) JK

Sep 5, 2009

Madeline at BYU

So Madeline has been at BYU for almost 2 weeks. Let me tell you a little about our communication. There are three ways I will hear from Madeline. The first way is texting. Texting is her personal favorite. I hate texting which is probably why she likes it because she knows I will not reply. The things she has texted to me have been things like, "Yo, I need kitchen dish cloths." or, "Mom, I told you I would be out of class at 9." I hate how long it takes me to type a text reply back to her. It is painfully slow and my mind is miles ahead of me as I am, "hunting and pecking" out my reply.

Madeline also uses Facebook to get a hold of me. Last week she posted a picture of the job chart she made for her and her roommates on my wall. She was very proud of herself and I was very amused by how proud she was. And thrilled that I had actually taught her something :) Now, is she actually doing her jobs? Good question :) She will also send messages to my inbox on Facebook. The latest one has been that she wants to spend half of Christmas break in Indiana. I think some of my tendencies to live in a fantasy world may have been passed on to Madeline :)

Occasionally she will call me or pick up her phone when I call. But she is amazingly busy. She has some 6 am classes and she has some classes that as you already know (see above) end at 9:00 pm. The reason she has weird class times is because she is trying out for the BYU track team. So every day from noon to 4 she is running with all the other hopefuls. She is loving it. She has been pleased to discover that she is able to beat most the people she is running against. She was fascinated to discover that there are a couple girls on the team from Massachusetts that she has been at track meets with but never knew they were Mormon. She is deeply in love with all the free NIKE stuff she is acquiring. She has also loved meeting people that she has only watched run on TV. We will know at the end of the month if she made the team. But she has declared that she has already made it.

Her Calculus and Chemistry classes are giving her fits so she has acquired tutors all by herself. It amazes me how they step up and take charge of their lives when they need to.

The other day I was talking to her and she said a couple things that really made me smile. The first was she was talking about how she had read through all her textbooks. And how exhausting that was since she never had to pick up a textbook in high school. She has lived a charmed life. Also in that same conversation she mentioned how it was different now that she was paying for her school with her own money....wait, darling daughter what did you say? Would you say that again, PLEASE :) Madeline has a half tuition scholarship but she has paid for everything else out of her own money.

I was also asking her if she was keeping her roommate up with her late hours. And she said, "Mom I go to bed early now, I am in college and I have to get up early. I am not keeping anyone up." I was so surprised she said that I blurted out, "WOW, that is great, so what time are you going to bed? And she said, "Midnight." Yes, I laughed out loud at my darling daughter. She said, "Mom no one goes to bed at midnight here they all go to bed at 2 or 3am."

Madeline is the luckiest child in the world. She has not had many disappointments in life and when she has had them dealing with them has not been her strong point. She is not afraid to try anything and she is very independent. And I wish I would have had a little bit of Madeline in me when I was in college.

Sep 3, 2009


"Facebook changes our relationship to the past." I have been thinking about this statement that I recently read in a magazine article about Facebook. I am friends with about 212 people on Facebook. I have a representation from all parts of my life in those 212 friends. I am friends with women who were friends with my mom when I was a teenager. I am friends with loads of classmates from high school in Snohomish. I am friends with people from all the places I have lived, Kansas, New Jersey, Indiana and Massachusetts. I am friends with old roommates from BYU, I am friends with my children, I am even friends with my siblings. I am friends with high school teachers from high school, I am friends with old loves, I am friends with relatives, I am even friends with a few people that I am not even sure I know:)

It has been fun but very surreal to reacquaint myself with all these people that I have always wondered about. So fascinating to have a small glimpse into their "now lives" every time they post something and yet see their past face in my mind as I read their posts. All the colliding of the past with the present has caused me to think way too much. Yes, I know a strange thing for someone who names their blog over thinking everything to be doing huh? :)

I have been constantly thinking about how I really did not get to know most of these people very well. I am interested by how many of my high school friends keep in touch with each other and do things together. It is so cool to see how they truly have grown up together and have known each other through so much. Because I moved around a lot as a kid I did not have that opportunity to have someone who saw me through everything, knew everything about me. I wonder if that is why I long for that now?

You see the past is no longer a distant and somewhat blurry thing full of wonder and speculation it is back in my life very clearly. And I confess I have loved every minute of it. Some of it I fear I have loved too much. It does have a way of pulling you back into feelings you have not felt in years. Insecurities, adolescent anxiety and so much more.

I have been thinking about how my past self and present self do not really know how to behave when they get together. They feel awkward they get confused easily. They have so much to say to the past selves of my friends. I have been known to forget that a lot of life has gone on in 20 plus years when I reacquaint myself with someone. Strange to be searching my mind for memories of these people. Strange to be wanting to see them again because I forgot what they looked like when they smiled at me. It has felt like a roller coaster ride....happiness, regret, what ifs.

I find myself continually amazed that all 212 of them remembered me. Even more amazed when I find out they actually liked me. Which Jennifer did they see? Do they still see her?

Sep 2, 2009

It's Canning Time....Drat :)

It is canning season again. And would you believe that I dread it? Why on earth do I do it so religiously then? Isn't it cheaper to just buy it? Isn't my time more valuable? All good questions. I have been really thinking about them this year in particular.

I grew up with a mom who canned and a dad who helped her. A lot of my childhood memories are of turning tomatoes or peaches in the pot of water on the stove, blanching ears of corn, and my mom staying up late. I do not remember ever thinking to myself that I could hardly wait to grow up so I can do my own canning and have a messy kitchen and stay up late. And canning was a distant memory until we moved to Lawrence, Kansas about 5 years into our marriage. I am not sure how or why but all of a sudden it all came back to me and I wanted to do it. I think the first thing I canned was tomatoes. Canning back then required a ton of question asking and two moms to be present. One to watch kids, and pick kids up from schools and one mom to keep the canning process going. I canned applesauce with Wendi Bastian. I canned tomatoes with Ruth Harrison. I canned peaches, applesauce AND melted a microwave with Alyson (good times). I do not remember who I canned strawberry jam with but I know I did it. I had a logistical nightmare once in the middle of canning peaches in Indiana and had a dear friend Jill come over and help me finish peaches since my husband was out of town and my kids were needing to be 9 million different directions

Early on in the process I asked myself a lot of questions about my intentions and my purpose in canning. I really did not want to be canning just because my mom did. I wanted to make sure it was worth it. To this day I only can what my family will eat. No canning of chicken for this girl. I tried canning pickles since my kids love pickles but they did not turn out so well and I can get an enormous jar of pickles from Costco for not very much so pickles are not included in the necessary to can list. What is necessary to can? Applesauce, peaches, pears, jam and tomatoes. These are things the family eats and things that I know the prices of and know without a doubt I can can them for much less than I can buy them in the store.

My second year of canning I discovered that one of the things I hated the most was not being able to remember what I had done the last year. So I started a book. And in this book I write what I canned each year. I write what I bought, how much of it, how much I paid and how many jars I ended up with. I also keep phone numbers and directions to the farms and I even write about how long it took me and what I was wearing :) JK. This book helps me to be more efficient and also helps meet my incessant need to know everything. It also has helped me many times to be able to say to the farmer while batting my eyelashes, "But you charged me this price last year."

So today in my book I wrote, "Outlook Farm in Westhampton on Route 66. Twenty lbs of seconds of peaches for $12.00." I bought 3 boxes which means 60 lbs of peaches for $36.00. Last year I canned 50 lbs and got 29 quarts of peaches. These peaches are VERY ready so I am counting on being up all night tonight canning my guts out. I am dreading it. But once I get into it it is not so bad and there is nothing so rewarding as the sound of your lids popping to show they have sealed and they are happy inside.

So far this year I have canned 26 pints of tomatoes plus 4 quarts of tomatoes. Twenty pints of strawberry jam. And I have picked and frozen 14 lbs of Blueberries.

So I am heading into the busy time for canning...peaches, pears, raspberry jam, more tomatoes and applesauce will all happen in the the next month. I miss having a friend to can with me it makes it go so fast. But I will gather every CD in the house and be content to can with The Killers, Taylor Swift, Good Charlotte and much more. But if you happen to be up late tonight and need someone to talk to call me on my cell phone and surprise me......

Sep 1, 2009

Being Alone

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.”
Henry David Thoreau

“When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death - ourselves.”
Eda LeShan

My whole entire life I have been a, "more the merrier" kind of girl, a "don't leave anyone out" kind of girl, a "bigger is better" kind of girl. But in the last 4 or 5 years I have slowly been discovering the joy of small well thought out gatherings and even...dare I say it...doing things alone.....gasp. The more the merrier is complicated. You have to figure every one's schedule. You have to feel bad if you forget someone. Then when you get to your destination with your, "more the merrier" group you start to realize just how many different ways there are to see a movie, or shop, or eat at a restaurant. Also, don't forget the small detail that everyone in the, "more the merrier" group needs to be happy. I do not like the pressure of having every one's happiness dependent on me because it matters to me deeply that everyone is happy. I know it is not realistic to expect everyone to be happy but it is a hard trait to fight :)

About three years ago I discovered I had enough money and old enough kids that I could actually go places by myself. I mean really go somewhere for 4 to 5 days. The first time I went somewhere alone it was the strangest feeling. I never go anywhere alone. I always want someone to go with me because I love to ask questions and have affirmation on my decisions :) I really did not know what to do with myself when I was really and truly alone. Then the second time it was easier and I got braver. By the third time I felt like a pro, getting my own rental car, "map questing" and alphabetizing all my destinations, staying as short or as long as I wanted at each place, ordering movies in my hotel room, going to the bathroom when I wanted. It was very addicting. I did not get to go anywhere alone these last two years and I miss it.

I mentioned to my husband this past weekend that I want to plan a, "Jennifer alone" trip and he still can not get used to the idea that I want to be alone. He asked who I wanted to go see and I said no one (sorry, I do love you all) he asked me again and I still said, "no one." There are expectations that come with going to see someone. It is so very unlike me but I have discovered the joy of not always having so much going on around me. It is a lot of work to be in a group and I find the older I get the less I am up to the group setting. Oh, I still like crowded places. Especially when I am alone because I adore watching people. I like quiet uncrowded places too I actually am very versatile :) The hardest part of being alone is seeing something amazing and wanting to share and you could but it would be with the complete stranger next to you which could be awkward.

So I am thinking about planning a trip for early next year in February or March. I have thought about Prince Edward Island, Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, Kentucky or one of the Carolina's how will I ever decide?

So to recap...
Being alone means not having to make other people happy.
It means you are on your own time
It means no compromising necessary.

Is it possible I am no longer a people person? No, I think when you start to want to be alone you are in a good place. It means I do not need someone to laugh at my clever remarks 24/7...which FYI I do happen to make clever remarks all the time....yes, even in my head :) I actually think it is a minor miracle that I have finally come to a point that I am comfortable being alone.

I did some reading on being alone and here are some things I found out, being lonely and alone are different. I am NOT lonely :) and The Archbishop of Canterbury says Hell is being alone forever.....hmmm good to know.